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EBRD Adds Kazakh Companies to Blacklist

Over the past six months, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has added two Kazakh enterprises to its blacklist of entities that the bank will not do business with. One of the companies is Astana's KS-Group LLP, which produces railway machinery and equipment. The company has been barred until April 2025 due to alleged fraudulent activities. The other enterprise, whose ban runs until December 2026, is Agidel-As LLP, which is also suspected of fraud. The company's website mentions its involvement in large water-supply projects, construction of heating networks and other engineering projects. KS-Group and Agidel-As are also blacklisted by the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Several other entities and individuals from Kazakhstan have been added to another of EBRD's blacklists, entitled 'Sanctions Based on Third-Party Findings'. Among them are the companies A3 Commerce and AltocomAsia, to which in addition to fraud, theft is also alleged. Kazakh companies that appear on EBRD's blacklists reflect the negative side of the business environment in the country. However, it does also indicate that the country's law enforcement agencies are actively fighting fraud.

EBRD Finances Wastewater Treatment Plant in Kazakhstan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced its commitment to financing the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant and associated infrastructure in Aktobe. The initiative is aimed to address pressing water treatment and environmental issues in Kazakhstan’s fourth-largest city. The EBRD is extending a sovereign loan of up to KZT 47.4 billion (€ 96.4 million) to state-owned JSC Aqtobe Su-Energy Group, a company responsible for centralized water supply, wastewater treatment and district heating in the city. The loan by the EBRD, its largest to date for any municipal project in Central Asia, will also finance the construction of a sludge treatment facility with a biogas-fuelled power generation unit. The new treatment plant will replace the current facility which commissioned in 1984, is now obsolete. With capacity to process up to 100,000 cubic metres of contaminated water per day, it will satisfy the needs of Aktobe’s population of 600,000. The proposed sludge treatment facility, which includes a waste-to-energy unit for the production of green energy to partially cover the area’s electricity consumption, will eliminate odour-related problems, and help reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 23,000 tons of CO2 equivalent. It is anticipated that once in operation, the plant will provide a model for replication across Kazakhstan where almost a third of cities are currently without effective wastewater treatment facilities

EBRD Supports Expansion of Kazakhstan’s Salt Production

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has provided a convertible loan of up to KZT 5.5 billion (€11 million) to Araltuz, a leading Kazakhstan-based producer of table and low-grade industrial salt in Central Asia. The funds will be lodged with Salt Industry Ltd., a joint-stock company operating under the jurisdiction of the Astana International Financial Centre and a holding company of Araltuz. The loan will enhance the company’s investment program and support construction of new manufacturing facilities for Kazakhstan’s production of vacuum salt, also known as evaporated or culinary salt. It will also help Araltuz diversify and expand exportation to Europe, the Middle East and China, and implement a corporate governance action plan. With more than €10.1 billion invested in the country to date through 320 projects, Kazakhstan is the EBRD’s largest and longest-running banking operation in Central Asia.

EBRD Announces Third Stage of Funding for Green Projects in Kyrgyzstan

On 29th February, Mark Bowman, Vice President of The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) visited Bishkek to announce a new partnership with Demir Kyrgyz International Bank, FINCA Bank Kyrgyzstan, and Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank. Applauding their commitment, Bowman said, “We welcome partner banks to KyrSEFF III and their participation in our third green financing facility in the Kyrgyz Republic to help address pressing environmental challenges. For more than 10 years, the EBRD, local financial institutions and the authorities have worked together to promote a greener future for the country. We look forward to building on this success.” Kyrgyzstan’s Minister of Economy and Commerce, Daniyar Amangeldiev expressed gratitude to the EBRD for supporting the KyrSEFF program, which has so far invested more than $55 million in 3,355 energy efficiency projects in Kyrgyzstan. While previous initiatives focused mainly on energy and resource efficiency, the new Green Economy Financing Facility KyrSEFF III has expanded its remit by investing a further $50 million to support climate resilience and adaptation, reduce pollution and promote the sustainable use of water. Loans will be offered to relevant small and medium-sized businesses as well as households across the country. Finance will also be available to retailers and producers of material and equipment covered by the KyrSEFF Technology Selector, an online database of energy-saving technologies.

EBRD Helps Increase Reliability of Tajikistan’s Electrical Grid

An announcement was made on February 28th that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is to increase the reliability and sustainability of electricity supply in Tajikistan. The national transmission network operator Shabaqahoi Intiqoli Barq (SIB) will be awarded some €31 million, comprising two EBRD sovereign loans and an investment grant of up to €8 million to help restore the existing transformer and construct a new one at the Sugd-500 substation in the north of the country. The northern Tajikistan power system depends on the 500 kV Sugd-Dushanbe high-voltage line connected to the Sugd-500 substation. Once upgraded and expanded, the substation will allow for a more sustainable electrical grid able to meet domestic and export demands. It will also help SIB integrate up to 700 MW of renewables in line with Tajikistan’s 2030 National Development Strategy to diversify its energy production. In 2023, Tajikistan’s energy capacity exceeded 6,000 megawatts, and electricity production amounted to 22 billion kilowatt-hours; 4.8 billion kilowatt-hours or 28% more than in 2017. Addressing the issue last December, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon announced that the government was making sound progress in its strategy to establish a ‘green economy’. To achieve this goal, he explained that over the next seven years, Tajikistan aims to increase electricity exports to 10 billion kilowatt-hours, and by 2030, the construction of power plants employing renewable energy sources will increase the production of green energy to 1,000 megawatts. Looking ahead, the country aims to source all its electricity from renewable sources, primarily hydropower, by 2023.

EBRD Approves New Strategy For Uzbekistan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has approved a new strategy for Uzbekistan, setting out the bank’s priorities in the country until 2029. The EBRD’s strategic approach to operations in Central Asia’s most populous state will be based on activities in three areas: supporting decarbonization, greater water efficiency and cleaner energy; developing the private sector and fostering employment, skills, inclusion and the digital transition; and improving economic governance, the business climate and infrastructure connectivity, the bank said on January 26th. Under the first priority, the EBRD will work with the authorities to further decarbonize the national economy and increase the share of renewable energy in the total power output. It will pay special attention to creating low-carbon pathways and reducing methane emissions under Uzbekistan’s Global Methane Pledge commitments. The EBRD will also support the commercialization and modernization of power distribution and transmission networks, and channel further funds into modernizing and upgrading water, wastewater and irrigation facilities. Under the second priority, the EBRD will expand its support to the country’s private sector by providing direct financing, credit lines to small and medium-sized enterprises, and risk-sharing through local partner banks and trade finance facilities to support increased energy efficiency and women- and youth-led enterprises. Domestic small businesses will continue benefiting from the EBRD’s Business Advisory Services programme. The bank will also promote further digitalization in the private sector, the expansion of e-commerce and the development of local capital markets. Under the third priority, the EBRD will continue supporting the transformation of and governance improvements to state-owned enterprises and banks. It will support privatization, including through pre-privatization engagements; provide advice and financing to encourage the wider use of public-private partnerships; and support public-private sector dialogue through the Foreign Investors Council to help increase foreign direct investment. The bank will continue working to enhance regional and global connectivity, including through policy engagements and financing to improve transport connectivity and regional power trading, and help lower trade barriers. Uzbekistan is the leading recipient of EBRD funding in Central Asia for the fourth year running. To date the bank has invested around €4.28 billion in 147 projects across the country, most of which support private entrepreneurship and investment.

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